Does Redundancy Impact Your Job Prospects?
There are many influences that can contribute to major changes in an organisation—management re-structures, new technology, budget cuts. And no matter how good you are at your job, or how long you’ve been there, you’re not immune to the effects of redundancy. It’s hard, but it’s part of life. And knowing how to bounce back after being made redundant can be a real character defining experience
True, it’s emotionally draining, and if you don’t spin it correctly it can affect your chances in the job market. That’s why it’s so important not to let yourself get defeated. If your position is ever made redundant, you’ll need to change how you approach your search for a new position.
Let’s explore some of the ways you can use redundancy to your advantage.
Take some time to evaluate the situation
So you lost your job—that’s rough. But what may seem like a tragedy to one person is an opportunity to another. One of the best ways to prepare yourself to find a new job after being made redundant is to take some time to think about what’s happened and what steps you want to take next in your career.
Start by focusing on your mental health. Losing a job is a huge stressor and if you take a moment to make peace with what’s happened, you’ll be in a better mental state to look for a new job. Talking to friends and family about the experience may help, or you may want to consult a medical professional who can help you to process your thoughts and emotions during this time.
Then think about why the redundancy happened. In some cases, you may not have been able to prevent it, such as if your company laid off half of its employees. But maybe you could have done something differently. Did you take an active role in your company or a passive one? Would you consider yourself an indispensable employee?
The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be in your next role if the situation repeats itself.
Next, set your sights on finding a new position. You don’t necessarily have to do the same job as before. Take this opportunity as a chance to re-evaluate whether you want to explore something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to work for a charity—now’s the time to do it. You can use this downtime as a chance to brush up on new skills or even do a bit of volunteering and figure out your next move.
Demonstrate your value to new employers
Being made redundant doesn’t make you a bad employee. You know that, you just need to make sure recruiters know that as well. Consider the value you offered your previous employer and think about ways you can demonstrate that same value to hiring managers. Include all your best accomplishments from your last job in your CV and cover letter, and start thinking about how you can achieve the same level of success at your next job.
Don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills, too. Communication, teamwork and problem-solving are vital in nearly any job. But don’t just use the same buzz words recruiters see time and time again. Spin them to align with the values of the organisation you’re applying for.
Want to work in international development? Then empathy in communication is key. Or maybe you’re looking to do something more community-based. Then experience working with a diverse range of people from various cultures and backgrounds is paramount.
Give examples of how you used those skills to provide value at your previous job—and be prepared to explain how those same skills will be valuable in your new role.
Address employment gaps
Explaining gaps in your employment history can be challenging, but at the end of the day, we’ve all been there. Don’t forget, your interviewer is human too. And often our employment gaps are out of our control.
If your tenure in your previous position was brief, you might be tempted to leave that job off of your CV entirely, but that can make for a larger employment gap. Be honest and upfront about your job history. They’ll appreciate it more than you might think.
Include every job that’s relevant for the role, especially if you were there long-term. Your work history is an outline of why you’re a great fit for this new position and charity—don’t forget that. In your cover letter or during an interview, be honest about the fact that job redundancy resulted in a gap in your employment, but then go on to highlight how you’ve used that time productively, such as by volunteering for a cause you believe in.
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How to prevent redundancy in the future
True, you can’t always predict what’s going to happen. But there are ways to make yourself totally indispensable—the kind of employee they just can’t lose. Taking classes and getting training can help to keep your skills up-to-date. With programs like Creative Cloud, Photoshop, Microsoft Office and Quickbooks constantly releasing new versions, staying trained and knowledgeable about these programs will allow you to make the most of the resources available to you at your current organisation.
And when you decide to look for a new position, having up-to-date skills can make you a valuable candidate, since many charities won’t have the money or time to invest time in training you how to use these programs.
You should always take advantage of professional development opportunities that your employer offers. Keep updated about any changes and organisational developments that occur so that you can anticipate staffing changes and stay ahead. You can also use your annual reviews to identify areas where you can improve and to receive valuable feedback from a supervisor.
Learning to move forward
You won’t always be able to avoid redundancy, but by taking an active role in your charity, you can reduce the chances of it happening again. If your position is made redundant, remember that you can bounce back from redundancy and even use it as a stepping stone in your career.
Looking for your next role in the charity sector? Find out what charities and not-for-profits are hiring today.